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Photo of Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection, Kamuela, HI
Courtesy Mauna Lani Auberge Resorts Collection

Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection

Kamuela, Hawaii

Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection, makes a dramatic first impression. As you pass through the front doors where you'd expect to find a lobby instead you encounter a soaring atrium whose centerpiece is a meticulously crafted outrigger canoe. Muraled walls adorn the modern lounge areas. The hotel rises on lands that once belonged to Hawaiian royalty, and the grounds still hold archeological sites and ancient fishponds. Lava outcrops punctuate the coast, the legacy of the volcanoes that backdrop the resort (one of which, Mauna Loa, erupted in the distance early in the hotel's opening). It feels as if you've set foot in a place that simultaneously exists in the modern and ancient worlds.

Emilio Sanchez, Academia Sanchez-Casal, FloridaThe beach and paths to those ancient fishponds beckon and so does the Mauna Lani Sports Club, a free shuttle or five-minute walk away. The facility, which has hosted both a Davis Cup tie and a Champions Tour event, has five tennis courts and four pickleball courts, painted in the colors of the Australian Open and bordered by oleander hedges and trellised patios. Cliff Drysdale Tennis manages the programs and has installed Simon Curtin. Born in Norwich, England, he is a lifelong tennis player, competing in both junior and college tennis and rising to a national ranking of 150 in the UK. Prior to coming to Mauna Lani, he had coached at luxury resorts and high-performance centers in Spain, Italy, Greece, Australia, and Morocco. Here, he stages adult and junior programs, cardio tennis, and pickleball and serves not only guests of the Mauna Lani but also visitors and locals.

A well-equipped fitness center overlooks the sunken clubhouse court and is accessible to guests as a complimentary amenity. This is also the site of the hotel's Auberge Spa, an eco-conscious retreat whose treatments employ ingredients crafted from local plants and botanicals.

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Other Recreation

Beach. The portion of the beach directly in front of the hotel is man-made, perfect for sunbathing, but those drawn to water take a short stroll to Makaiwa Bay, whose sand gently slopes in to a protected cove for swimming and the launching pad for canoes trip to snorkeling sports just beyond the shallow reef.

Golf Course. The resort has the 36-hole Francis I'i Brown Golf Course, a spectacular course carved out of a black-lava flow and extending from the coast inland.

General Tourist Information. For information about the resorts along this corridor, visit the Kohala Coast Resort Association website or the Big Island Visitors Bureau website. Or for information about Hawaii as a whole, visit the Hawaii Visitors Bureau website